updated 10:50 am EST, Mon February 8, 2010
Nook finally gets regular retail availability
Barnes & Noble today said that the Nook will at last reach its retail shops. While it has had demo units in stores since launch in the fall, the bookseller now says it expects most locations to have units directly available to buy on Wednesday the 10th. Officials didn't say what kind of quantities they would expect.
The availability signals that Barnes & Noble has finally gained control over supply versus demand for the device. It first started shipping Nooks in December but encountered repeated delays as the company couldn't meet demand. Publicly, Barnes & Noble has always claimed that it was exceptional demand, though observers believe it may have more to do with limited output. Amazon encountered similar issues with the Kindle for its first two years but had shipped just a few hundred thousand units in each case.
The Nook is considered one of the chief competitors in e-book reading devices and is unique in having a small, secondary color touchscreen for navigating its interface. It's also the first reader pre-iPad to use a smartphone OS and runs Android, which may eventually let it run third-party apps suited to the e-paper display.